Woo Hoo! A brand new year is here and we have 365 (363 by the time this post will have been published) days to make our lives even better than they used to be. There’s probably one thing that I keep reminding myself over and over again in such circumstances and that is to try to make my life as much my own as possible. What I mean by that is to remember to make my own choices I can stand by, regardless of whether they’re popular and considered within “the norm” or not. Let me preach a little bit today about the risks of conforming to the expectations of others.
First of all, what you must remember is that people who have strong expectations towards life choices of others are often not that happy themselves. The people who keep enquiring about whether or not you have a partner when you’re single are often unhappy in relationships and marriages and want to make you feel bad about missing something because they actually feel inferior. The case is very similar with mothers reminding you about your biological clock ticking and providing you with a female’s made-up expiry date to stress the need of you getting pregnant ASAP. Of course, some of these people are actually content, wish you well and they would like to see a similar happiness to others. However, they’re in minority and they tend to be so aware of the way they express themselves that you’re likely to read it as genuine. Most people, however, just use these topics to feel better about themselves. The thinking behind it is that I if they can point out that there’s something wrong with you, their own life choices have been validated and they don’t have to question them.
It’s needless to say that this sort of external self-esteem boost coming from comparison is not only temporarily but also detrimental. This is, however, the business of judges of others and their issue to deal with. Remember that nasty comments and unnecessary advice are about them and not about you. What to do when dealing with such people? When someone asks you so when are you going to find yourself a boyfriend, just reply: “When I’m ready.”. If you want to upset the apple cart even further ask them whether they’re having a bad day or feeling low. They expect you to feel the need to justify yourself and get defensive. You have no reason to comply with this expectation, as you don’t owe anyone an apology or an explanation for a lifestyle you choose.
The reason why it’s important to figure out what we want and stand by it regardless of what others think about it, is that you’re the one who’ll have to live with the choices. If you let others bully you into the life you don’t want, chances are you’ll be quite miserable. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your parents pushing you to find The One as you’re already thirty or everyone around asking about babies because you’re married and expecting you to have them the “natural” way. If you think you have a problem and you dislike what’s happening in your life, work on it. Nevertheless, don’t let others tell you or make you feel like there’s something wrong with the way you live, if you’re happy.
Last but not least, the expectations of others never end and by surrendering once you make your life more difficult not easier. You get a boyfriend, people want you to get married, then have babies, then have loads of money, then send kids to a particular temple, “appropriate” schools… The point is that we shouldn’t let others put ideas in our head such as wanting “a boyfriend”, “a husband”, “a career”. Society just throws these ideas at us but achieving these things doesn’t make us happy. If I had let my parents pressurise me into staying with my ex, whom I was rather unhappy with, because “I wasn’t getting any younger”, quite possibly I would have ended having “a husband”. However, I would have never met my husband who actually is what I want and makes me happy. The idea of marriage shouldn’t be appealing to us as much as the idea of marrying someone who makes us and our lives better. A child won’t make you happy if you’re depressed just because you gave your parents the much wanted grandson. A career won’t make your life good either if you’re a manager in an industry you despise. There’s no one meaning of life and no one way to happiness. What most people want doesn’t have to be what we desire and that’s okay. Sure, it’s not easy to make unpopular choices, but people who really care about you will accept what works for you. Those who prefer to stay faithful to whatever rigid ideas they have and think that they have a right to impose their vision of the world on others may go in peace and make love to themselves.
What are you New Year’s resolutions, Dear Rinsers? Are you rebels for your own causes or do you do whatever is expected of you whether you want it or not? The comments section is all yours!